By Lance Jordan, Sports Editor
Early in February, The Current reached out to Alex Stupek, senior, nursing, to talk about everything from softball, nursing and her downtime. Since then, the all-American and three time first team Great Lakes Valley Conference selection has recorded three hits in a game against William Jewell on March 31. She became the program’s all-time career leader in that category with 236 hits. Stupek also earned the Great Lake Valley Conference Player of the Week on February 20.
The Current (TC): How long have you been playing softball?
Stupek: I have been playing since I was in about first grade, starting with T-ball, and I started my first competitive travel ball season when I was in third grade. I have been playing ever since, spending most of my summers traveling around to different states to play, and playing on my high school team in the spring.
TC: Who has had the biggest impact on your softball career?
Stupek: Definitely my parents because of all the time they have put into taking me to practices, games, and practicing with me. My dad and I would practice together almost every night together. It was a big time commitment for them as well, and I am really thankful that they were willing to do everything they did for me. Also, my travel ball coach, Dale Shelton, because he was who really starting trying to get my name out there to coaches, and building my confidence.
TC: What made you choose UMSL to play softball?
Stupek: The big thing that made me decide to come to UMSL was that I could play softball and I could also go through the nursing program. A lot of sports coaches don’t like their athletes being nurses because of the demanding schedule; across the board, in all the sports, UMSL is open to working with student/nurse athletes. UMSL is not too far from home (about two and a half hours) so I still get to see my family a lot because I am very close with them. Also, I could see that the softball program was starting to really become something, and I wanted to be a part of a good organization.
TC: You became the program’s all-time career leader in runs; how does that achievement feel for you?
Stupek: It feels good! I am proud that I was able to have some kind of impact here, and grateful for all of the opportunities that I have gotten throughout my four years.
TC: Do you have a favorite game during your career that stands out to you?
Stupek: I don’t think there is just one game that stands out to me specifically but any conference championship game we won, and all the games we won in post-season really standout to me. The atmosphere is fun to be around in such high pressure games and the feeling of getting that third out in the seventh inning of a big game and winning is unreal. I have been lucky to have played with such fantastic athletes and, got to experience a lot of winning in my time here.
TC: When you graduate with your bachelor’s in nursing, what do you plan to do next?
Stupek: I plan to enjoy some free time! [Laughing.] Along with that, I plan on getting a job somewhere in the St. Louis area, in a hospital. I have started applying to some different places, but do not have anything secured yet. I eventually plan on going back to school to further my education. But in the meantime I just want to secure a job and enjoy some free time with my friends, family, boyfriend, and dogs!
TC: What do you like to do to have fun when you aren’t studying or practicing for a game?
Stupek: I have two dogs that live with me in St. Louis, and I love doing things with them whenever I can and be outside. In the summers my boyfriend and I spend a lot of time down at the stadium, watching the Cardinals play. As of late, when I get some free time I have been spending it on the couch watching Gossip Girl and just chilling out.
TC: Do you hope to achieve any other career highlight before leaving UMSL?
Stupek: I would like for the team and myself to experiencing winning another conference championship, along with playing in another postseason. Personally, I am not sure. I have kind of made it a point this year to not look at my statistics, team statistics, or where I am in relation to any records. I just want to enjoy the rest of my senior season. I am happy for any honors I have already received and would be very lucky to experience anymore.
TC: What words of encouragement do you have for the Tritons’ future [in softball]?
Stupek: The biggest thing is just to enjoy it. Everyone told me that it flies by and you never believe them until it happens to you, because as a freshman you can’t even imagine the idea of you ever being a senior, but it came fast. It’s such a fun time in your life, so just work out hard, study hard, make some time for friends, family, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!